It sounds too good to be true. After all, there is the whole Catch 22 situation where you can’t get a job without experience, but no one will give you a job if you don’t have experience. It is a running joke with college graduates and others seeking employment in their field, especially if the economy is feeling a bit shaky. Here are a few tips on how you might get a job in computing if you aren’t experienced.
Bear in mind that these are just tips and not guarantees – your employment depends on a number of factors, and no article is going to give you a universal problem-solving key. Now, let’s go!
This is a general tip that applies to any industry. Sometimes it is not what you know that matters, but who you know instead. This isn’t to say you can easily get a job even if you are not qualified for it – absolutely not. What it does do is give you an opportunity to show them what you got.
Here’s the drill: you may already know someone who is working in this field and is, coincidentally, looking for some new talent. Presenting your degree and interest in computers during meetups can be your own little form of advertisement.
Sometimes, to get some experience and exposure, you must do some free grunt work that takes advantage of your skills. Every greenhorn, regardless of the industry, has been in a position where they could choose to stay anonymous, or invest their time and skills into a project that could look good on their resume.
GitHub and other places await young talent to improve their projects or give their two cents on a problem. With this everybody wins.
One of the running jokes on the internet is that graphic designers are sometimes paid in exposure and clients are convinced that they are doing the artist a favor. In your early years, don’t be surprised if the first couple of projects you do become just that – exposure. It’s not pretty, but it is what it is.
In fact, the potential negative experience from this could give you the incentive to accurately assess your worth and sell your work accordingly in the future. Do not give anyone more than 2 weeks of your time for free – you are neither an indentured servant nor are you in it for the love.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
There will be times when you will be tempted to undersell your skills. After all, the market dictates the worth, so if you can provide your work for a fraction of what it would normally cost, why wouldn’t you do it? The pressure and the fact that the whole business may not be worth it anymore.